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A First: Global Streamers Surpass Box-Office Revenue, And It May Be For Good

Fern Siegel

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on entertainment and media, including the fate of movie theaters and streamers.

First, giant Regal Cinemas is suspending operations in the U.S. and U.K, while the National Association of Theatre Owners are lobbying Congress to pass a relief bill. Just yesterday, Disney chose to move Pixar’s “Soul” from theaters, direct to Disney+.

The economic consequences: This year, worldwide box-office revenues will be surpassed by global streaming platforms. And PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) sees that trend continuing for an estimated five years.

The firm forecasts streaming video revenue will hit approximately $50 billion in 2020. Worldwide streaming was around $37 billion in 2019. Conversely, global box-office revs are down 65 percent from 2019, to $15 billion.

What does that mean for the streaming future?

In 2021, PwC estimates streaming platform revenues will grow to $55 billion, with global theatrical getting some relief in a financial recovery, with an uptick to $20 billion.

In the U.S., subscription VOD revenue of $13.5 billion in 2019 will grow to $24.5 billion by 2024. PwC also estimates OTT video revs will reach $22.6 billion this year.

“In the short-term, the lack of new content, due in large part to production shutdowns, may begin to strain streaming platforms without extensive libraries. However, over the next five years, we expect there will be an increased focus on international expansion, as well as content and intellectual property acquisitions to support growth and user engagement,” PwC authors note.

They add: “Companies find they can deliver immense choice at a price point that makes sense for both supplier and customer, while building powerful direct relationships — all without relying excessively on fickle or intrusive ads.”

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